Strategic Planning: Why, Who, How and When

Seattle University is undertaking a strategic planning process.

This an appropriate time for this work.  Seattle University’s previous strategic plan, Fulfilling our Mission in a Changing World, concluded last academic year. We have a new provost who wants to use strategic planning to help revitalize and set new directions for the academic enterprise. We believe this work can advance shared governance and campus culture, and help the university clarify our purposes and aspirations as a Jesuit institution of higher learning. 

This process is led by a steering committee selected by the president in consultation with the provost, Academic Assembly, the Steering Committee for the Staff Council, Student Government and the Board of Trustees. Committee membership is listed here

This committee has been given the charge to develop a five-year strategic plan that supports and advances the mission of the university and to do so through an appropriate and consultative process that reflects our values of inclusive excellence and shared governance. The committee is also asked to undertake this work with a long-term perspective, a sense of university citizenship and a spirit of inquiry.

The committee is charged with developing a draft plan that is a product of its engagement with stakeholders and delivering that plan to the Board of Trustees, in time for the May 2019 board retreat. The final formal task of the committee will be to incorporate feedback from the board into a final committee draft to be completed and delivered to the President by the end of the academic year.  Any remaining work – possibly developing implementation plans and completing the financial model – will be done over the summer so that the plan can be submitted to the board for final approval in September 2019.

We want to provide interested stakeholders with a range of opportunities to engage in this process. If you have any questions, please feel free to email

Bob Dullea, Vice President for Planning
Jen Marrone, Professor of Management
Steering Committee Co-Chairs

Qualities of the Process and Plan

These qualities were identified and prioritized through faculty and staff surveys. The steering committee will implement a process and develop a plan characterized by these qualities. 

Qualities of Process

  1. Engage the university community through broad and deep outreach.
  2. Exemplify and advance inclusive excellence.
  3. Exemplify and advance shared governance.
  4. Use research-based practices in planning and organizational decision making.
  5. Work in a spirit of continuous learning and improvement.
  6. Proceed in a manner informed by discernment and Ignatian pedagogy.

Qualities of Plan

  1. Fulfill our mission and Jesuit educational purposes.
  2. Offer a compelling vision for the university community.
  3. Be financially accountable and realistic.
  4. Make real changes that challenge the status quo.
  5. Include concrete and measurable goals.
  6. Provide a competitive strategy responsive to changes in the external environment.

Steering Committee

The work of the strategic planning process will be led by a steering committee. This committee will be co-chaired by one administrator (Bob Dullea) selected by the President and by one faculty member (Jen Marrone) selected by the President and Provost in consultation with the President of Academic Assembly.

Stakeholders and Roles

Preparation for strategic planning identified across stakeholder groups a desire that the planning process exemplify and advance shared governance. In order to do this, it is important that the planning work begin with a clear and shared understanding of how it will be governed: in particular how responsibility, authority and decision-making will be distributed across stakeholders. 

To this end, it is proposed that the role of stakeholders in this process align with the standards of the 1967 Shared Governance Statement of the American Association of University Professors and the 2017 Association of Governing Boards Statement on Shared Governance.  It is also proposed that this process more fully involve stakeholder groups not sufficiently addressed in these statements, including non-tenure-track faculty, staff and students.

The sections below outline the proposed responsibility and authority of stakeholder groups, including individual positions and governance bodies, within this planning process.